Worldwide briefing

11 November 2003 by
Worldwide briefing

Essential news from around the world…

Pandox buys Crowne Plaza Spanish hotel company NH Hotels has sold the 356-bedroom Crowne Plaza Hotel in Brussels to Swedish group Pandox for €31.8m (£ 21.9m). NH, which already owns five hotels in Brussels said the sale was in line with plans to dispose of "non-strategic" assets. The hotel was acquired by NH as part of the Dutch chain Krasnapolksy last year.

Boom time for budget hotels
The European budget hotel industry saw revenue per available room (revpar) rise by 5% in September compared with the previous year, according to the latest report by MKG Consulting. However, three- and four-star hotels saw a dip of 2.7% and 1.3% respectively in the month, which contributed to an overall fall in European revpar of 2.4%.
Occupancy rates overall were fairly static at 75.7%.

More time for Euro Disney
Euro Disney has obtained more time to avoid bankruptcy and come up with a financial rescue plan. Its creditors have agreed to relinquish some conditions attached to its €2.2b (£1.5b) debt. The deal gives it more time to negotiate with shareholders including the Walt Disney Company.

Internet bookings rise
Worldwide hotel bookings through Global Distribution Systems and key internet sites increased by 10.5% in the third quarter of this year, indicating a strong recovery of travel agent bookings, according to a report by TravelCLICK. In the same quarter last year, bookings were down by 7% on the previous year. Travel agent bookings represented 72% of the bookings recorded.

US labelling law "redundant"
US trade body the National Restaurant Association has opposed a Federal bill introduced last week in Washington to introduce compulsory labelling on restaurant menus. It said that the information already provided by the majority of restaurants made the legislation "redundant". The bill applies to menus of chains with 20 or more outlets.

Four Seasons earnings fall
Hotel group Four Seasons reported a net loss of US$5.8m (£3.4m) for the nine months ended 30 September 2003 compared with net earnings of US$13.6m (£8.16m) for the same period in the previous year. The loss was blamed primarily on foreign exchange loss and on legal and enforcement costs relating to disputes with owners of hotels in Seattle and Caracas.

Marriott expects US growth
Marriott International expects to add up to 95,000 rooms to its portfolio by the end of 2006, excluding Ramada International. The company told investors and analysts today that its rooms growth is ahead of plan and it sees substantial growth in the US markets. It is expecting to increase franchise fees by up to 11% over the next three years as a result of growth in revenue per available room.

by Christina Golding

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